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Just Outside My Door 10/11/12

October 17, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

I've been spending some time outside, not putting my gardens to bed for winter. I do little of that nowadays, though I do some weeding and planting.

When it comes to strenuous tasks, my bones refuse to work for long, so anything that can't wait until spring, Marlin does. I just meander about looking at the various flowerbeds, the south border and by the fence out back. I think about what I'd like to do differently in our yard next year. I don't have a lot of elaborate beds or decorations everywhere; I leave that to the young folk and those who have a fulltime gardener. Nevertheless, I still like to dig in the soil at times, pull weeds and plan for next years beds.

This time of year when the sun isn't so hot, I really enjoy sitting outside reading or simply watching all that's going on out there. I like going to the creek also, and the last time I went down there, there was actually some water in it. Most of the time last summer it was almost completely dry, but there were plenty of things going on in the realm of nature and also the birds. Thankfully I saw no bears. I think they like to visit our yard occasionally instead of staying in the woods all the time. However, they haven't paid us a visit for more than a month. I suppose they are getting ready for their winter nap.

Speaking of birds, recently I received a new book from Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt Company entitled "Hawks in Flight" by Pete Dunne, David Sibley and Clay Sutton. It is the second addition of a former book by the same title and written by the same authors, although it has much more information in it. I am familiar with Sibley's writings and enjoy reading them in "Bird Watcher's Digest." There are many good drawings of various birds in the new publication by Sibley. I don't recall ever reading anything by the other two writers, but their work adds much to the book also. The new one also gives all the raptors that breed in North America. Roger Tory Peterson said the new edition of the book is a "landmark." It has an array of carefully selected photographs. Sibley's superb illustrations, and clear, information packed text will help one to identify those birds.

I have never really learned much about raptors, though I have seen hawks, eagles, kites and vultures flying high in the air. I have seen an eagle sitting in a tree or on its nest and it's a wonderful sight. As for the hawk, I have often seen one in a tree when we go to Erie on Rt. 86. Occasionally one sits in a tree just beyond our back yard fence. If I see it, I tell he or she they aren't welcome.

After looking through my new book, I think it is great and I plan to read it, not all at once, so I can identify those in our area and learn more about their habits.

Meanwhile, I'll continue watching all the birds at our feeders. Although some of time the weather has been warm, they are coming rapidly emptying the feeders often daily. Filling those feeders is one task which brings us lots of fun and enjoyment. I've tried a few times lately to get a chickadee to eat from my hand. So far it only lands on the wire by the feeder near my hand. Of course I don't stand there very long. Now that they are visiting our feeders so often I love hearing their many voices as they come flitting in, around and then on the feeders. Also the many other species visiting us now days.



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